Wind turbines at Rushcliffe Country Park won’t generate enough electricity to recoup money spent on them
Two wind turbines at Rushcliffe Country Park won’t generate enough electricity to recoup the money spent on them, it has been revealed.
Rushcliffe Borough Council spent £30,000 on installing the turbines in 2004 – but last year they generated only around £95 from the power they produced.
At that rate, it would take hundreds of years for them to cover their installation cost – half of which was paid for by taxpayers.
But they have a lifespan of only around 15 years.
People living nearby have branded the turbines a waste of money but Rushcliffe Borough Council says they helped to secure Green Flag status for the park.
Trevor Smith, 68, of nearby Ruddington, said: “It’s ridiculous to think how long it will take to get the money back.
“I am all for trying to find different ways of creating electricity and am not overly bothered about what the turbines do to the landscape, but the finances simply don’t add up.”
In the 2012-13 financial year, the turbines produced 477 kilowatt hours – or kWh – of electricity.
Given that they operate on a lower tariff – which varies between 10.21p and 3.3p per kWh – this would equate to a combined maximum of £95 of power.
But the council said last year’s figure was skewed because the turbines were not working properly and that the last full-year generation figure was 3,478 kWh in 2010-11.
But even at this rate, it would take more than 40 years to pay back what was spent on then, without taking maintenance costs into consideration.
The council funded half of the cost of installing the turbines, with the rest coming from a grant from the Clear Skies renewable energy group.
Sally Reynolds, 57, of Musters Road, Ruddington, said: “The figures are crazy. How can they justify these things being in the park when they cost more money than they bring in?”
The details have been provided to the Post following a Freedom of Information request. The Renewable Energy Foundation said poor installations and defective technologies often meant that wind turbines did not make savings.
A spokesman for the borough council said: “Due to higher- than-anticipated maintenance costs and relatively low generation rates, it is unlikely that the council will make a financial saving within the anticipated lifespan of the turbine.”
No one at the council was able to say what the maintenance costs were.
The spokesman added that a low wind speed at the site hampered the amount of energy generated. The authority has looked into getting more advanced equipment, but there was a lack of interest from commercial providers.
It has still defended its decision to put the turbines in place, pointing out they have helped to gain Green Flag status for the park.
“The provision of wind generation at this site is in line with a range of environmental measures which showcase conservation and sustainability,” said the spokesman.
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